Happy Birthday Begbroke – 15th Anniversary of the Begbroke Science Park
15th Anniversary Showcase
Leaders from the University, business, county, innovation, science and technology communities gathered at Begbroke Science Park for a summer Showcase on 18 June 2014, celebrating the 15th anniversary of its acquisition by Oxford University.
They were treated to an impressive exhibition of the current commercial and research activities which take place at BSP. Many innovative research breakthroughs and new product solutions across the life sciences, automotive, energy, environmental, and engineering sectors were on display. The development of the Begbroke site from its earliest incarnation as a weed research station to university science park and key employer in Cherwell district was also chronicled.
The event was opened by Caroline Livingstone, Manager of Begbroke Science Park, who introduced speeches from Professor Alex Halliday, Head of MPLS Division, and Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Hamilton.
Alex Halliday spoke eloquently of many successful Begbroke spin-out companies, past and present, whose strong ties to their university community continued to inform their research and development activities.
He acknowledged the contributions of key academic and commercial figures such as Gordon Sanghera, founder and CEO of Begbroke alumni Oxford Nanopore Technologies; Professor Sir Edwin Southern, founder of Oxford Gene Technology and molecular genetics pioneer; and the inventor of the photovoltaics industry’s newest disruptive technology, Professor Henry Snaith, founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Begbroke tenants, Oxford PV, paying tribute to the part they played in creating successful Oxford University spin-outs.
He singled out a small number of the research collaborations – Patrick Grant’s Processing of Advanced Materials; Nik Petrinic’s team with Rolls Royce; Paul Newman’s Robotics group; and the work of Oxford Materials Characterisation Services, all of which highlighted the growing importance of university:business interaction and the need to focus research to maximise its impact both locally and globally.
Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton, in his keynote speech, likened Begbroke’s development to that of a typical teenager, whose enthusiastic creative imaginings pull them in many different directions in their formative years. He warmly praised previous BSP Academic Directors Professors Brian Cantor and Peter Dobson, whose steadying paternal hands had guided BSP through its “tricky teenage years” to become the internationally recognised multi-disciplinary centre of innovative excellence that it is today.
The Vice Chancellor then looked forward to the building of the Begbroke Innovation Accelerator, the BioEscalator and future development of the Oxfordshire Knowledge Enterprise zone heralded by the announcement of the Oxford City Deal earlier this year.
He stressed the strength of the relationships between BSP, Cherwell District, Oxford City and County Councils, OxLEP, and the surrounding business and science communities of Oxfordshire, and recognised the value of these relationships to BSP as it “grows up, and enters adulthood” in its next phase of development. He closed by wishing all at Begbroke a very happy 15th Birthday, looking forward to many more years of successful development for the park and the Oxfordshire knowledge-based economy.